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Barry Brill

It’s Climate Month – Again!

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In November every year, most of our mainstream media subject us all to saturation coverage of the evils of “climate change” (by which they mean dangerous anthropogenic global warming or “DAGW”).

 This is no coincidence. At this time of year, the UNFCCC holds its annual “Conference of the Parties”, which is attended by large delegations from every government in the world, along with tens of thousands of acolytes. This year, COP 23 is hosted and chaired by Fiji, but is being held in Bonn, Germany.

 But the annual media splurge is not about the COP itself. It comes before-hand, and is a softening-up-the-public process meant to assure the delegates that we are all cheering them on. It’s quite like sending an army battalion off to a popular war.

 Two things about this annual festival that I find quite extraordinary:

1. The voluntary donation of expensive airtime and column inches.

 Most of our media entities are for-profit enterprises, supposedly locked in fierce competition for dwindling ratings/sales and staving off insolvency. Why do they give away free advertising – and bore the pants off audiences that they themselves describe as “climate fatigued”?  Why does this crusade pose as “news”? If this is a public service, why isn’t the Government paying for it?  Cui bono?

 For want of a better explanation, I’m assuming that this largesse flows from the personal ideology of that handful of metropolitan elites who make the daily decisions on “all the news that’s fit to print” (or air). Totally immersed in a groupthink bubble, they are convinced they are saving the planet – and what could be more important?

 It is obviously choreographed. All media know when and how to begin campaigning, and all sing from the same hymn sheets.  Somebody – Fenton Communications in New York (?) – wields the conductor’s baton and the world’s media devotees reliably deliver the goods. Rampant ‘noble cause corruption’ is in the driver’s seat, and tribal solidarity rules. Media boards/owners know better that to get in the way.

2. The content is pure propaganda.

Despite three decades of beating the same drum, the message never changes: “repent, repent, the end is nigh”. There is never any educational or informative content. The public don’t know that the scientific debate is (and always has been) about feedbacks, sensitivity, and the scope of natural variability. There is no mention of the benefits of CO2 and/or warming. The MSM won’t venture near any of these controversies, because ‘the debate is over’ and ‘the science is settled’.

Journalists like to tell themselves that they “speak truth to power”. Nonsense. Nothing could be more powerful than the 193-nation cartel of Paris Agreement nations, and nothing could be less truthful than the DAGW memes served up daily by our brave journalists.

Many alarmist media reports seem inherently improbable. We are fed stories that AGW simultaneously causes both heat waves and blizzards, floods and droughts, food shortages and obesity. Reporters expect viewers/readers to suspend their critical faculties in the DAGW space, because it is “the great moral challenge of our generation[1]. We should all signal our virtue in unison – and only unspeakable deniers would get picky about the details.

Take the recent TV1 series. Each episode was introduced by chimneys belching smoke and steam, masquerading as carbon dioxide (a colourless gas). Hurricanes and typhoons proliferate, contradicting the clear IPCC finding[2] that there is no evidence that warming has caused any increase in the frequency or intensity of extreme weather events.

The first episode was a highly emotional account of Fiji’s relocated Vunidogoloa village, allegedly inundated by DAGW-driven rising seas. Barbara Dreaver must have known, but did not share, that the village had been in in desperate straits for more than 60 years. Knowing that the story would not be true, I did some quick research. What I found is here.

As one comment at WUWT has it: “These fake stories in which some erosion, subsidence or notable king tides are shown as proof-positive of the dangerous effects of AGW seem to be all that the MSM or the U.N. have to offer on the subject. That should be reassuring. If there was a real story – then they’d surely be focusing on that. Clearly there is no real story. Seemingly not anywhere.”

The climate scare stories on each of the following four nights were equally spurious. They are debunked here and here and here and here. The NZ Climate Science Coalition has lodged an objection with the Broadcasting Standards Authority, but the ingrained culture of TVNZ (like that of BBC and ABC) is not likely to be dented.

Government-funded agencies also pay homage to the annual COP festival. Each October, the Royal Society Te Aparangi publishes a climate-alarmed report and 2017 saw the booklet: “Human Health Impacts for Climate Change for New Zealand”. This sets out the worst imaginable effects on our descendants next century if the most threatening climate scenario should eventuate.  It is such a tedious read that the Climate Conversation blog has provided a reader-friendly summary. The blog explains: “we don’t find the case at all strong or at all scary – so we hope everybody will read and understand it”.

Unable to find much cause for fear in the IPPC temperature projections for 2100, the Society simply makes up a rise of 6°C above the pre-industrial average. It wholly ignores the fact that New Zealand has shared in the global “pause” and has seen no warming trend since 1998. Despite this, there is no hint of any existential threat to our remote offspring in 2100 and thereafter. The most fearsome consequences imagined by the Royal Society amount to little more than inconveniences and a need to spend a little of their copious wealth on adaptation – see “Dunedin descendants threatened with a Blenheim lifestyle”.  

The 2017 COP ordeal is over. But this year it won’t be allowed to pass from the headlines. Our new prime minister says “climate change is my generation’s nuclear free moment and I am determined that we will tackle it head on… New Zealand has an opportunity to shape its identity by taking a lead.”  2018 is set to be Climate Year.

[1] Rt Hon Kevin Rudd, prime minister of Australia (2007)

[2] In both the massive SREX Report and the Fifth Assessment Report.